Guide to Wedding Reception Photography
Wedding Day Overlaps
At the drinks reception there is often an overlap with the other parts of the wedding day. Because the couple sometimes go straight from the ceremony into the drinks reception, many different elements of the day can come together almost at once:
This could be the ideal opportunity for the confetti shots. If both the ceremony and reception are in the same venue, then it almost certainly will be. There are also many guests who want to congratulate the couple at the reception. See Chapter 6 for more on these aspects of the day.
I also find myself regularly photographing the posed shots at the reception. There is a short section about this further down the page.
First Chance to Relax
One constant about the drinks reception is that drinks and usually canapés are served. Most of the formalities are over and the couple take a well earned breath and mix with their family and friends properly for the first time. It is the first chance for the photographer to capture the newly-weds together in a more relaxed environment.
Creating Wedding Day Memories
The drinks reception is the prefect time for natural, true reportage photography. The more that you have going on, the more the photographer has to work with. Photography is all about creating memories… Fun additions such as a dressing up box for the children (and grown ups!), live music and even a magician are all popular ways to ensure that your day is truly unforgettable. There are so many diverse and different ideas these days. There are 110 amazing wedding ideas to check out via that website link.
Outdoor Wedding Receptions
The location also plays a huge part. Many venues have beautiful outdoor spaces to be used in nice weather. They will usually offer this, but if not, do ask. Occasionally the outside area might be out of bounds unless a certain package is ordered or the wedding ceremony is held in the area.
Posed Shots: Informal
At the reception, guests often request small and informal group shots of them and I am very happy to accommodate. The below shot is a good example, and I’m sure that had I asked them to pose, it wouldn’t have looked as fun and relaxed.
Posed Shots: Formal
The drinks reception is a great time for the couple’s list of posed shots, particularly if the ceremony and reception are in the same venue. I like to keep this short as it can interfere with the flow of the day – but some posed shots are usually required. However, I’m happy to be led by the couple and if they are happy and their guests are too, then I’ve no problem extending it a bit. Posed photographs mean more to some couples than others. See my chapter on posed wedding photographs for more information.
Drinks Reception Top Tip:
Sometimes (i.e. fairly often!) events run a little late and this may limit time for drinks. Venues should allow for this, however some are very strict about timings, especially for dinner. So do check with the venue beforehand about what will happen should things overrun. This can depend on the caterers flexibility, so if hiring them separately, check with them too.
Wedding Details & Trimmings
This is also a good time to go off and take some detail shots of the dining room and dinner tables before everyone sits for dinner. I try to photograph the place settings, flowers, cake and anything else that is included to help make the day so special.
Sometimes the wedding planner or venue manager shows the couple the dining room ahead of the guests. I accompany them where possible to take some reaction photographs as they see the room for the first time.
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